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15 Nov 2012 Postal Bulletin

Today’s Postal Bulletin appears to have no changes that will affect Presort – no DMM revisions, no Label List updates, nothing of the kind.

That’s fine by me as we work to figure out what holes exist in the rules that HAVE been published for the coming rate case, set to be implemented 27 Jan 2013. Oh, I suppose the things I think of as “problems” are mostly minutiae that most people won’t care much about, but they just make it a challenge to figure out how to make software behave acceptably. Let me give just a couple examples since I have some space leftover with no new changes to write about.

One of the issues that is not really a USPS issue per se involves the new High Density Plus (HDP) Standard Mail pricing in relation to the Mail.dat specification. Generally we support the current Mail.dat spec, which will be 13-1 come January, and the most recent previous spec, which will be 12-2. If a job in the new software is generating a 12-2 Mail.dat and doing walk sequence, it’s possible there may be some HDP-price mail in there, but the 12-2 spec doesn’t have a way to record that. That would be a problem. Now I just hope that somebody potentially getting HDP prices would want to use a Mail.dat spec that supports that price.

Here’s one that’s not really new, but recently triggered a long email discussion that’s not yet completely resolved – for STD Mail MAADC letter trays, the rule was once that the pieces had to be sequenced by AADC area, but now the text only says that’s required IF there is some Reduced Overflow (ROFL) mail actually in the tray. In one job, even though there was no ROFL mail we reported it on the Postage Qualification Report (PQR) by AADC area as we always have, in the order of the Label List, which is ordered by the ZIP sequence of the lowest ZIP in each AADC area. Evidently PostalOne! breaks this out sequenced on the label-to ZIP of the AADC areas, which is usually but not always the same. Somebody’s mail is getting rejected over this, even though technically it doesn’t need to be broken out at all. My suspicion is the tray will just be dumped in the letter sorter either way. Fun.

Regarding the changes for “residual mail” there are a couple things. First it seems that “residual” is used in two senses – sometimes it just means any mail left over after all CR, Automation and Presorted mail has been processed, other times it means specifically First Class Mail letters less than 2 ounces that are left over and will qualify for the new “residual” price – we just have to read carefully to know which is meant! The other “interesting” part with this is that the preamble text in the 23 Oct Federal Register Notice talked about trays and sacks of residual mail going on pallets, but then the pallet rules only specifically mentioned the case of trays going on pallets – why? When I checked, there was evidently no reason and I expect to see a wording change there (sometime) that will include sacks…but I don’t expect it to be called out when it is.

The last little item like this I’ll share is about putting carrier route bundles of PER flats on Mixed ADC pallets. At one point we were told specifically this was not allowed, justified by the fact there was no cell on the 3541 postage statement for CR bundles on an MADC container. Then some time later, with no DMM change, it WAS allowed, so we changed the sorting and had to ask what to do about the bundle price, since there was no price in the bundle charge table for them and no entry on the 3541 for them, either. “Use the 5DG bundle price for now and report them with the 5DG bundles” was the reply, with the assurance it would be fixed in the January 2013 updates. Indeed, the draft postage statements included a 3541 with a cell for CR mail on a mixed ADC container, but then when the draft pricing table came out there was no price for that cell. Once again we have an assurance that a value should be included for that cell in the final updates, but we don’t have that information yet.

My goal here is only to point out that there are LOTS of little items like this that need to be run down and researched, and even if it is the case that they “won’t happen very often” as some people like to tell us, the fact is they DO happen to people trying to enter mail and if they are not handled they cause pain. We’re trying to avoid as much of that future pain as possible, but there are lots of potholes to avoid. Now I’m going back to looking for and patching those potholes.

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